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Cell-based bioreporter assay coupled to HPLC micro-fractionation in the evaluation of antimicrobial properties of the basidiomycete fungus Pycnoporus cinnabarinus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPharmaceutical Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2016
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Context Identification of bioactive components from complex natural product extracts can be a tedious process that aggravates the use of natural products in drug discovery campaigns. Objective This study presents a new approach for screening antimicrobial potential of natural product extracts by employing a bioreporter assay amenable to HPLC-based activity profiling. Materials and methods A library of 116 crude extracts was prepared from fungal culture filtrates by liquid–liquid extraction with ethyl acetate, lyophilised, and screened against Escherichia coli using TLC bioautography. Active extracts were studied further with a broth microdilution assay, which was, however, too insensitive for identifying the active microfractions after HPLC separation. Therefore, an assay based on bioluminescent E. coli K-12 (pTetLux1) strain was coupled with HPLC micro-fractionation. Results Preliminary screening yielded six fungal extracts with potential antimicrobial activity. A crude extract from a culture filtrate of the wood-rotting fungus, Pycnoporus cinnabarinus (Jacq.) P. Karst. (Polyporaceae), was selected for evaluating the functionality of the bioreporter assay in HPLC-based activity profiling. In the bioreporter assay, the IC50 value for the crude extract was 0.10 mg/mL. By integrating the bioreporter assay with HPLC micro-fractionation, the antimicrobial activity was linked to LC-UV peak of a compound in the chromatogram of the extract. This compound was isolated and identified as a fungal pigment phlebiarubrone. Discussion and conclusion HPLC-based activity profiling using the bioreporter-based approach is a valuable tool for identifying antimicrobial compound(s) from complex crude extracts, and offers improved sensitivity and speed compared with traditional antimicrobial assays, such as the turbidimetric measurement.


  • Bioluminescent bacterial strain, Escherichia coli, Gram-negative bacteria, phlebiarubrone

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland